Melissa and Kimberly

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How We Met

Kim and I met in June of 2019. We had seen one another on Bumble but Kim didn’t swipe right haha. We met a few weeks later at an LGBTQ+ social mixer for Stonewall Sports Cleveland. Kim was new to Cleveland having recently moved from Philadelphia. She missed the deadline for kickball but decided to still come to the mixer to meet new people. I’m on the board of the non-profit and was there with my team. I recognized her from Bumble and struck up a conversation and the rest is history.

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How They Asked

Right after Kim proposed on Christmas I went and ordered the custom ring I’d chosen for Kim and thought about how I wanted to propose back to her. In January, Kim and I were flying home from a short business trip to Vegas. While we were waiting to board our flight, I scrolled across something on my Facebook timeline that said Ohio Wedding Giveaway. I thought for sure that it had to be fake or spam, but on the off chance that it wasn’t, I saved it.

The post had been made by a non-profit called Rai of Love that was donating an entire wedding to a couple in need. That evening back home, I noticed that among the other photos, their page also had an engagement photograph of two women and thought to myself, “So there’s a chance!”

On January 16th, I sent in a video submission, telling our story. I poured my heart into describing our unsupportive families who won’t come to the wedding, Kim has gone back to nursing school to save lives, and how if we were chosen, I’d like to make the whole thing a surprise and propose to Kim.

Unbeknownst to me, my close friends I had told about my secret submission also submitted essays nominating us to win. Jodi Hutton (our wedding photographer and founder of Rai of Love) chose us to win! She contacted my cousin in Texas, who worked with our best friends in Ohio and set a plan in motion to surprise both Kim and I in February. That evening our friends convinced us to go to our local gay bar, Twist, for a post dodgeball drink.

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What we didn’t know was that Jodi and her amazing team of vendors wanted to surprise us with the news, just like I’d planned to surprise Kim. The entire Stonewall Sports league was in on it and our best friends had brought Kim’s engagement ring with them. Raiof Love announced to everyone that we had won a free wedding and I was able to give the love of my life a ring that promised her forever. We were surrounded by excitement, happiness, and more importantly the love of all of our close friends.

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Our Video

Special Thanks

Jodi Hutton
 | Photographer